NASA STTR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 T6.02-9986
PROPOSAL TITLE: Improved Forecasting of Solar Particle Events and their Effects on Space Electronics

NAME: CFD Research Corporation NAME: The University of Alabama in Huntsville
STREET: 701 McMillian Way Northwest, Suite D STREET: 301 Sparkman Drive NW
CITY: Huntsville CITY: Huntsville
STATE/ZIP: AL  35806 - 2923 STATE/ZIP: AL  35899 - 1911
PHONE: (256) 726-4800 PHONE: (256) 824-2657

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Ashok Raman
701 McMillian Way NW, Suite D
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 2923
(256) 726-4800

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mrs. Silvia Harvey
701 McMillian Way NW, Suite D
Huntsville, AL 35806 - 2923
(256) 726-4858

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Space Weather is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
High-energy space radiation from Galactic Cosmic Rays and Solar Particle Events (SPEs) pose significant risks to equipment and astronaut health in NASA missions. In particular, energetic particles from SPEs associated with flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) constitute a highly dynamic and penetrating radiation environment that may adversely affect not only beyond-Low-Earth-Orbit missions, but also aircraft avionics, communications, and airline crew/passenger health. It is crucial to develop a capability to forecast SPEs and their effects on systems to guide planning of mission-related tasks and to adopt risk mitigation strategies for personnel and equipment.

In this project, CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) propose to develop a comprehensive modeling capability - SPE Forecast (SPE4) - comprising state-of-the-art modules that individually address important aspects of the overall problem, integrated within a novel Python-language-based framework. SPE4 will include: (a) the MAG4 code for probability forecasts of flares/CMEs, and resulting SPEs, based on SDO/HMI magnetograms, interfaced to (b) the PATH code for transport of emitted particles through the heliosphere, interfaced to (c) Geant4-based transport calculations for particles through geomagnetic field modulation and atmospheric interactions (in low-Earth orbits), to finally yield spectra of SPE-induced energetic protons and heavy ions (and secondary particles) as a function of time and location. In Phase I, we will develop an SPE4 framework prototype, demonstrate automated execution and information flow between different codes, and validate against data for a known event. In Phase II, we will collaborate with Vanderbilt University to interface the resulting particle spectra with downstream codes to calculate single-event effects in electronics. The SPE4 framework, interfaces, and procedures will be optimized for rapid "event to effects" predictions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed effort is aligned with the goals of NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program that is focused on developing a predictive understanding of solar activity and its effects on Earth and space-based assets. The newly developed and validated "event-to-effects" modeling capability will be synergistic to the strategic capability models available to the scientific community (e.g., via the Community Coordinated Modeling Center – CCMC - at Goddard/GSFC). In fact, the MAG4 solar activity forecasting code within the overall SPE4 package is already (individually) available from CCMC. With the subsequent emphasis on linking with codes to calculate effects in electronics, optimizing SPE4 interfaces and calculation procedures, and continued validation, this project will also focus on transition towards operational use.

This effort also addresses objectives outlined in NASA's Human Research Roadmap and OCT Technology Roadmap TA06 – Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems, specifically, the sub-technology area of Radiation, including Space Weather Prediction and Protection Systems. The SPE4 software will specifically address the limitations facing mission operational planning in terms of forecasting the occurrence, magnitude, and all-clear periods of SPEs. The SPE4 framework will also support interfaces to other downstream codes for radiation effects calculations (e.g., to analyze and design effective shielding materials).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Dynamic variations in the high-energy, highly-penetrating solar particle environment can adversely affect aircraft (especially near the Poles), cause navigational and GPS equipment interference, disrupt spacecraft electronic systems, and cause disruption/equipment failure in communication systems. For DoD agencies and commercial entities with space-based or high-altitude assets, an efficient and accurate predictive capability for the radiation environment at desired locations or along preset trajectories, and resulting effects caused in systems (electronics, materials), will be a significant aid to mission planners for scheduling tasks and to adopt risk mitigation strategies for equipment.

Changes in the Earth's ionosphere due to SPEs can modify the transmission path and even block transmission of High Frequency (1-30 MHz) radio signals. These frequencies are used by amateur (ham) radio operators, commercial airlines, and government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense. Terrestrial applications such as electric power transmission systems can be affected by SPE-induced changes to the geomagnetic field leading to blackouts. Induced stray currents leading to corrosion in above-ground oil pipelines (near the Poles) is another concern. In all these cases, a predictive capability for SPE-induced radiation spikes can help equipment managers intelligently manage operations and prevent catastrophic failures.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Isolation/Protection/Radiation Shielding (see also Mechanical Systems)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Simulation & Modeling
Software Tools (Analysis, Design)
Verification/Validation Tools

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37